Fantastic points as always, and I loved this updated ukemi post, which compared to your post several years ago had much more insight into the more internal aspects of ukemi. If possible, I would love to get a bit more regarding your thoughts on taking ukemi once things have begun to gel internally for nage. One point that I have heard/read you make often is that both sides are always practicing aikido. However, the early paired connection exercises seem to require "stupid strength" on the part of uke, whereas nage is working on "connected/internal strength". Do you have any tips for uke in the early stages of training so that uke is getting as much benefit as nage? I understand uke is developing sensitivity in finding that breaking point and giving feedback, but we have found that greater body connectivity is leading to much less sensitivity for nage -- to the point that one of our hallmark symptoms of good connectivity is that it becomes difficult to feel uke pushing/pulling on you. Thoughts? In any case, it has been fun to touch the surface of this and I am looking forward to digging deeper for many years to come. Thanks again for taking time to share! We are all really looking forward to your seminar!!
Some of us once asked Ushiro Kenji Sensei what would happen in a contest between two opponents who both understood "aiki". He replied that between two highly skilled opponents, the one who would win was the one who got "inside" the best.
I think that after a certain point in the training when "stupid strength" becomes irrelevant, you have to ask the partner to attack more intelligently. That's why i think uke should be taught how toreally attack right from the start. He may be choosing not to do so at the earlier levels of traiing but he shouldn;t be going decades thinking that a "stupid strength" attack is anything other than, oh, stupid. At a certain point there should be no more "I am just grabbing" or "I am just striking". A grab should acheive kazushi and have a strike(s) that go with it, a strike should should be in combination or morph into a throw if it is deflected.
When you get to this stage of training, the real interesting stuff starts to come out. Up to that time, it is still just basics. When you start to work this way is up to you I think but one should take a lesson from the Systema folks. If what you are doing is creating fear or tension, you need to slow it back down some and work at that level. In my experience, most of these folks who are talking about Aikido being street effective all the time are really just imprinting a lot of mental andphysical tension in the practice and will never really be very good.